That’s No Moon
EA have announced that all maps and modes from the Death Star DLC for Star Wars Battlefront will be free to play this weekend, from December 23-25. Star Wars fans eagerly awaited the release of this added content, originally launched in September, and the reception was mainly positive. The chance to recreate the original trench run sequence from Episode IV and the addition of space battles left many gamers satisfied with the new locations and modes.
Players will also get double XP during the holiday weekend, and 5000 credits just for logging in. Credits are the in-game currency used to unlock weapons and Star Cards. The Death Star DLC includes five maps to explore: Death Star Surface, Command Sector, Power Sector, Defense Sector, and Imperial Blockade.
EA’s announcement only specified ‘maps and modes,’ so it’s not yet certain if this includes additional characters like Chewbacca and Bossk, as well as the new weapons and vehicles featured in the original DLC.
Star Wars Movie Tie-ins
Not only is the free weekend over the holidays, but it also corresponds with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The film follows the group of rebels who recovered the plans for the Empire’s super weapon, and is a perfect partner to the Death Star DLC.
It also has its own DLC in the form of Rogue One: Scarif. This gives players the chance to replay parts of the film and features new characters like Jyn Erso and Orson Krennic.
As a tie-in with The Force Awakens, EA released The Battle of Jakku DLC this time last year. The DLC featured the aftermath of the Rebel victory on Endor in Episode VI as well as a new Turning Point game mode. Although Jakku was a major location in the film, the events in the DLC took place almost three decades before Rey met Finn. With both Scarif and the Death Star DLC, EA offered a more focused tie-in that had stronger links to previous Star Wars films.
Battlefront’s lack of story mode and reliance on the original trilogy when initially released left some players disappointed. But their strategy of releasing small additions to coincide with the now-annual Star Wars films provides effective companion pieces to more in depth stories. They can tailor these experiences to newer films, like Rogue One, or the Bespin expansion which features older locations from Episode V.
These tributes to well-known films can pay homage without drawing direct comparisons to previous material. They can provide familiarity without causing franchise fatigue, ensuring that players get enough without feeling like they’ve seen it before.
Tie-in games can be a great way for franchises to make money, piggybacking off of the success of a movie to release a game adaption. However, a film’s production cycle is usually shorter than a game’s. This can lead to rushed development and a sub-par product.
A notorious example of this is Atari’s E.T. game. With a production time of only 5 weeks, designer Howard Scott Warshaw had to finish the game in time for Christmas. After paying $22 million for the rights, Atari suffered massive losses following E.T’s release.
Sometimes movie tie-ins can be just as good, if not better, than their source material. Games like GoldenEye 007 and Spiderman 2 pleased critics and gamers alike, with James Bond’s outing on Nintendo 64 achieving commercial success despite low expectations.
The Lego franchise also has an impressive track record when it comes to movie tie-ins. Their licensed properties like Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Lego The Lord of the Rings show how popular movies can exist as video games.
Games can be enjoyable movie tie-ins, but it can still be more ‘miss’ than ‘hit.’ Giving gamers bite sized chunks like the Death Star and Scarif DLC creates connections to the films without relying too heavily on them. This allows players to live in these universes, and doesn’t damage their previous experiences of those stories and characters.